California Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee is expected to announce her bid for the House Democratic Caucus chair Monday.
If she wins the position, she would be the first African-American woman to become a chair in this caucus, according to Politico.
“When you look at the history of the Democratic Party and the Democratic leadership, African-American women … we’ve been the backbone of the Democratic Party — we should be in the face of leadership also,” Lee told Politico in a Sunday interview.
Lee, 72, said she understands frustration with older party leadership.
“[But] millennials and young people know my record — it’s really about our ideas, how we engage with people, and how we listen to what the new generation is saying to us,” Lee told Politico.
Lee has the support of both older and younger members of the Democratic party.
“I think she’d be terrific. We’ve never had an African-American woman in the leadership in this party … it’s about time that an African-American woman is in leadership and I can’t think of a better person than Barbara Lee,” California Democratic Rep. and Progressive Caucus member Ro Khanna told Politico. Khanna, at 41, is one of the younger members of Congress.
“I’m very excited about her in a leadership role…She would be absolutely the best choice,” Illinois Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky told Politico. Lee has been “a real doer,” she said.
Lee will be running against California Democratic Rep. Linda Sanchez, who defeated Lee to become vice-chair of the caucus in 2016.
New York Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley, the current House Democratic Caucus chairman, lost his primary to 28-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Ocasio-Cortez has praised Lee in the past, saying, “I’d like to see new leadership, but I don’t even know what our options are. I mean, is Barbara Lee running? Call me when she does,” she told the The Washington Post in June. (RELATED: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Equates Ending Of Slavery To Electing Democrats)
Lee is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which has the goal of “[promoting] a strong, progressive agenda.” GovTrack rated Lee the most liberal member of the House, with an ideology score of 0.0. The most conservative ideology a member can get is 1.0.
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